24th Street Elementary parents vote for reform

24th Street Elementary parents voting on reform

Parents at 24th Street Elementary voting on a proposal to reform the school under the California Parent Trigger Act.

Listen to an audio story from Annenberg Radio News

Amabili Villeda says her eight-year-old son goes to an elementary school with unclean facilities, one of the highest rates of suspension, and a difficult principal.

“She didn’t communicate with the parents,”said Villeda. “Even the teachers complained that they couldn’t communicate with her, and parents started take their children out of the school.”

Over the course of a year, the enrollment rate at 24th St. in South LA dropped from 1,000 students to 600. Some parents were discouraged, but Villeda saw this as a reason to get motivated.

“It’s not fair because this is my community school and so they get paid to provide a quality education and so they should be,” said Villeda.

So Villeda decided to protest for a better education.  An education group called Parent Revolution helped her and other parents gather signatures for a petition to change their school.

“They’re able to come in, help mobilize and help parents and inform them of their rights and what their options are for them,” said Cue.

Cue said Villeda was a driving force behind the petition and helped get most of the signatures.

“I would say Mrs. Amabilia is the biggest fire starter. She’s nice and bubbly but she’ll make hear her voice.”

Villeda and other parents were able to get over half the parents in the school to sign a petition to reform 24th Street Elementary. According to the California Parent Trigger law, if a majority of parents want new management at their school, then the district must take action.

“The four things the parents have asked for is good leadership, a safe and clean school, a culture of high expectations and qualified and competent teachers,” Villeda said.

Parents came out to the park near the school today to vote. and show support for the reform. Community member who didn’t have children at the school also came to show their support for education refor.

“I don’t have anything to lose. My son isn’t at this school but if one child fails, we all fail,” Roslynn Brookins said.

The parents have four different options to reform their school. They can pick from three different charter school programs or a partnership between the district and a charter middle school. Votes are being counted now and the new decision will be enacted next school year.

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